Letter of the Week
Fresh off the roll
Rob Harvilla's review of the American Hardcore documentary ["Out of Step, Out of Time," Down in Front, September 27October 3] is nothing short of a heaping helping of bovine droppings. Those of us who frequented those clubs and saw Henry Rollins remember the music as more than drawing Xs on people's hands and pissing on their faces. If the film is understated, too long, incoherent, or poorly edited then Harvilla should stick to those points, not tell us what an übermensch he is for not partaking in such folly. Perhaps Harvilla was offended because there were some of us not down on all fours sucking the living daylights out of Ronald Reagan's cock in those days. Now I see the strategy behind the recent personnel changes at the Voice: less newspaper, more toilet paper.
Re Lia Araujo's "When Bad Things Happen to Good Girlfriends" [September 27October 3]: Are you kidding? Isn't this what blogs and toilets were made for? Actually, I might need a toilet because I think I'm gonna puke. Is this the new Village Voice? The Sex and the Cityfication of New York continues. It's so very sad.
What raises Araujo's article above the typical Sex and the City retell is the dark nugget of grief at its center: the death of her grandfather and her unanswered question to him. Like so many women, Araujo asks the man to answer what is really inside her to know: Is this man good enough for me? Her own father, pushed to the background in the feminized role of dishwasher, gives her another way of looking at the victim's role she has chosen to play.
This article couldn't have come at a better time. I went through the same thing Araujo did and thought that I was crazy, retarded, or just dysfunctional. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who sticks with relationships that don't work, and maybe this article will help me avoid settling next time. Thanks for a good little cheer-up.
Wow, stories about the Ivy League dating circuit. Is this what the Voice has come to? Geez, when I want this kind of vacuous drivel I read New York magazine. Could you please hurry up and put an end to the paper's steady creep toward pathetic, and just roll over and die already?
That Rockie horoscope gal [villagevoice.com] always has depressing, terrifying horoscopes. I personally feel that people who check their horoscopes (like me) are of a certain paranoid disposition, and I wish that Rockie wouldn't make things worse. Make Rob Brezsny the main guy on the site.
Re Nat Hentoff's "A Marriage Made in Hell" [September 27 October 3]: Poor Nat, how pathetic that you stoop to calling Iran a terrorist state, when in fact, Israel has murdered innocent people in Palestine for over 50 years, and viciously attacked Lebanon while murdering many hundreds of innocent Lebanese and spewing hundreds of thousands of cluster bombs over great portions of the country. Meanwhile, Iran has not attacked or occupied another country for over 200 years. You have always been an apologist for the state of Israel, but fortunately the majority of the people in the world know who the real villain is in the Middle East; it isn't Iran.
Del Mar, California
Nat Hentoff replies: Whatever charges can be made against Israel, that state has never stoned or hanged a woman to death for "impurity." And in Israel, contrary to Iran, there is open dissent against the government. Where would Mr. Devereux prefer to liveIran or Israel?
Trouble in paradise
I was just reading some background material on Ernst Lubitsch and his film Trouble in Paradise. First, I read a Lubitsch profile by Andrew Sarris in Cinema: A Critical Dictionary, and then I read J. Hoberman's Voice review of the re-released movie from 2003. I did a double take when I read this: Hoberman (2003): "Trouble in Paradise combines the visual glitter of Lubitsch's silent films with the verbal wit of his talkies; it leavens '20s frivolity with a soupçon of '30s class consciousness . . . " after having just read this Sarris (1980): "This movie seemed to have everything: the grace and elegance of the '20s, the egalitarian conscience of the '30s, and visual wit of the silent cinema and verbal wit of the talkies." I know that weekly deadlines can be tough to meet year in and year out, and I have long valued Hoberman's contributions to the paper, but that was shameless, no?
Editor's note: J. Hoberman has acknowledged having read the Lubitsch profile by Andrew Sarris. He attributes the use of Sarris's language and ideas to their inclusion in notes prepared for a college course lecture on Lubitsch's Trouble in Paradise. Hoberman and The Village Voice apologize to Sarris and readers for the inadvertent paraphrasing of Sarris in Hoberman's 2003 review.
Manly in the middle
What was the point of Chris Korman's article ["Field of Queens," September 27October 3]? Korman posits that it wasn't the sport that saved Eric Merfalen but its members. However, he fails to back up this thesis, as most of the article is spent on glorifying Eric for being a moral, conservative gay man who voted twice for George W. Bushwhatever that means. So how did the team save Eric? Apparently by inflating his ego by relentlessly hitting on him. I don't think he's worthy of that attention. OK, he tried to commit suicide and had problems with his love life, but we've all been through hard times. I fail to see why he merits coverage. Will you tell my life story next week or will my co-worker's suffice?
Eric sounds like your typical gay dude who harbors masculinity issues and mild internal homophobia. If he is so concerned about perpetuating a "damaging stereotype," he should stop hanging out on Eighth Avenue. It's hypocritical to contribute to a community that represents a specific look and lifestyle and yet continue to uphold such a puritanical and stifling value as anti-promiscuity. If Eric wants a boyfriend and monogamy so bad, maybe he ought to live somewhere like Montana. I live in New York in order to get away from moralistic, holier-than-thou jocks like him. If Eric feels the need to prove he's got balls by playing sports, that's on him.
Eric Merfalen's morals concerning promiscuity are very rare within the gay community. I applaud him for being able to hold on to himself and not acquiesce to the pressure there to be promiscuous. The gay community is happy just having fun and partying endlessly. We still have a long way to go to be completely assimilated within the dominant culture. It is wonderful to want to have fun and play if there is some balance in our lives, such as getting involved in some way in helping further our goals of complete assimilation and obtaining equal rights for all, and becoming less self-involved. Many gay men prefer situations that are superficial, and are more comfortable with the extraneous aspects of life.
Silke Tudor has done the citizens of Darfur and the world a favor by writing "Darfur in Central Park" [Loitering, September 27 October 3]. It is important that these atrocities be known. The protests are apparently having an effect. When Sudan's president Omar al-Bashir gave a speech to the General Assembly on September 19, he was driven to use the most offensive words he knows: Those "who made the publicity, who mobilized the people, invariably, are Jewish organizations." Little does he know that he is complimenting the Jews.
Musto does New York
I noticed that last week's issue of the Voice had no investigative/ analytical pieces on New York City matters by Tom Robbins, Wayne Barrett, or anyone else. I've never witnessed the lack of such article or articles in the paper, except in certain issues entirely devoted to a particular theme. Perhaps the individuals dismantling the Voice think that readers can get all the coverage of current city events they could ever want from La Dolce Musto.
Stephen M. Baraban
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